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A Story set in the Year 2017

29 Feb

Uta in a Hostel in 2017
(An imaginary Story)

Uta awoke at five o’clock in the morning. She sat down at her computer intending to write a bit more about her life. She reflected it had been some time since she had written anything. She wondered why she found it so difficult to get into the mood for writing.
When her husband was still sleeping next to her, she would sometimes sneak away early in the morning to do some work at the computer. Quite often he would wake up soon after and come looking for her. Finding her, he would say in an irritated voice: ‘What do you have to get up this early for?’ More often then not she then went back to bed with him.
Uta thought she should enjoy writing early in the morning since she could do it now without having to worry about interruptions. Instead she thought back to when her husband was still alive. How they always found time to talk about a lot of things. When he read an interesting book, he would tell her all about it. She would do the same, if something that she had been reading, had fascinated her.
Who was there to discuss things with now, she thought to herself as she looked at his photo, that stood in front of her on the table. Uta lived with another forty people in a hostel. She was friendly with a lot of them. But none of them had the same interests that she had. Most of the TV programs they watched, did not interest her. And none of the residents would take an interest in the books that she read.
Today was Wednesday. This meant Martha was to come visiting her. As always they were to play Scrabble. They both loved to play this game. Uta was going to tell Martha about Lily Brett’s novel, that she had just finished reading. It was called: ‘You gotta have Balls!’ Uta knew that Martha had read the book already. So they would discuss it together. Uta thought it was good, to be able to talk with someone about a book she had enjoyed reading very much. Martha usually arrived at the hostel around nine o’clock and stayed with Uta till lunch.
Reflecting on all the residents, Uta thought, it was such a pity, that she did not have more in common with them. Uta still loved to talk to all of them. But it was mostly small-talk. And it was mostly about the newest sickness that one or the other resident had come up with.
Uta was eighty-two years old. There were a lot of residents younger than her. However their interest in life was extremely limited. This was so sad. A lot of the residents liked to talk about the past, about the families they had had; they constantly complained that these days they had seldom any visitors. There were even some residents who never did get any family visiting them!
People were so grateful when you sat down and listened to them for a while. Often they responded with a lovely smile, being happy someone showed an interest in what they wanted to talk about. Uta was very fond of all these people who would respond with a smile. It warmed her heart. She was so happy, that most of the residents seemed to like her. Even the few really grumpy residents seemed to like her a bit. These grumpy residents could not help being grumpy, she thought.
Uta contemplated how lucky she was, to live in a comfortable room with her own toilet facilities. She also had her own TV set, radio and of course her computer. To reach the dining-room, she had to walk down a long passageway to a connecting building. All meals were served in the dining-room.
Not far from Uta’s room was a large lounge-room.The hostel was situated at the top of a hill. This East facing lounge-room had magnificent large windows. With the morning sun coming in, you could see all the way to the Pacific ocean. Plenty of comfortable big chairs were placed around the room. There were also a number of tables with four smaller chairs to each table. Uta and Martha usually played Scrabble sitting at one of these tables. To finish three games of Scrabble took them only about two hours. Around ten o’clock they had a tea-break. Uta loved to make cups of tea in the little kitchen adjoining the lounge-room. The staff served tea at the other end of the hostel in the comfortable room next to the dining-room. Sometimes Uta went down there for her morning tea.
There were laundry rooms in two different parts of the hostel with a number of washing machines and dryers. Uta felt fortunate, that she was still able to do her own washing. But she knew, if she was struck by a sickness, the staff would willingly do the washing for her. She never had to do her bedlinen. That was seen to by the hostel staff. The hostel also provided cleaning personal to clean all the rooms. Uta’s room would usually be cleaned Tuesdays.
A lot of the residents did not like the food that was being served at the hostel. They complained day in day out how horrible the food was. Uta thought to herself it was splendid that three cooked meals were being served every day. She usually did eat everything that was served, except for the meat, because she did not like to eat a lot of meat; never had liked it.
Uta looked at the clock and saw it was already past seven o’clock. So she had missed the seven o’clock news on TV. Instead of the TV she turned on the radio: ABC Classic FM. The room was bathed in some exquisitely soothing music. She loved this music. Taking another look at Peter’s photo, she was reminded, how much Peter had loved music like this.
Slowly, Uta got ready to get showered and dressed . She had not written anything, instead she had spent the time just thinking about her life. At ten to eight she arrived at the dining-room. Breakfast was to be served at eight.

Two Photos of Eva 1990 and 2000

29 Feb

The first photo was probably taken shortly after Eva moved into the hostel.

The second photo was taken by a waitress who offered to take our photo while we were waiting for our coffee.
Eva is in the photo 88 and I am 65.

My Friend Eva

29 Feb

My Friend Eva

I did get to know her when I was forty and Eva was sixty-three. She died thirty years later. I was able to keep in touch with her right to the end. When Eva was nearly eighty, she moved to a hostel. Before that she had lived at home with her estranged husband and had frequent bouts of depression. She had wanted to separate from her husband for a long time. Her husband didn’t want to let her go. He also prevented her from getting an age pension. For years and years she was stranded not being able to buy anything for herself.

Finally, through the intervention of a caring social worker, she was able to get her age pension. Another caring person, namely a Catholic sister, who lived in the neighborhood, saw to it that she could move into the hostel. She was nearly eighty at the time.

For many years I visited Eva in her home. Whenever I visited we played several games of Scrabble. Even when Eva was in a depressive state, she always loved to play Scrabble! Once she had some pension money, she developed an interest in shopping again. When I took her out for a bit of shopping, she also liked to have a cup of coffee with me in a shopping center. Sometimes I took her to my place for some games of Scrabble and to have lunch with me and Peter.

After having moved to the hostel, Eva liked to be taken for visits to a hairdresser. She also started choosing with great care what to wear for the day. It was really important to her to look good! Sometimes I took her with me to visit some friends of mine. They were all fond of Eva. I was her confidante. I think I was probably the only person she liked to open up to. I saw her only about once a week or once a fortnight. She always liked to spend a few minutes to let me know what had been going on with her since I last saw her. She also never forgot to inquire about me and my family.

The hostel provided for outings in their community bus. In the beginning Eva had been keen on going to all these outings. However, as she got older she lost interest in it. There came a time when she just didn’t want to go out anymore. Even with me she wanted to go out less and less. She still liked playing Scrabble though whenever I visited her. I think it was when Eva was about ninety when she started losing interest in playing Scrabble. However right to the end she was always looking forward to my visits.

Eva died in 2005. I was seventy at the time. In 2007 I wrote an imaaginary story about my being in a hostel as an eighty-two year old. In five years from now I will be eighty-two! Hopefully my husband is still going to be alive by then and I won’t have the need for a place in a hostel. But what if? I plan on publishing this imaginary story that I wrote five years ago. I also have some photos of Eva. Maybe a couple of these I can soon publish as well.